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Building Permits

Do I need a Building Permit?

Building Permits are required for most home or commercial renovations and new construction. Building Permit applications are reviewed by the Planning & Development Department and the Safety Codes Officer, and in some cases, by the Engineering Department. The Town strives to process permit applications within 20 business days, provided that all application requirements have been met. Most applications are processed more quickly; however, times may vary with the volume of permits received.

It is suggested that you contact the Planning & Development Department prior to commencing work to ensure that you have the appropriate permits, or if, in fact, you do not require a permit. If work has commenced without a valid Building Permit, the Town will issue a Stop Work Order, levy fines and order all work to be demolished at the owner's expense. Please note that if a permit has been obtained but the work was not inspected by the Building Inspector, the owner may be required to remove that portion of work not inspected, at their expense.

For more detailed information, visit the FAQ Section at the bottom of this page.

The Building Permit Application

A building permit application consists of two basic parts: the application form, and supporting information. The application form is standardized for all building permits; however, the supporting information can differ depending on the scope of work. Building Permit fees can be found by clicking on the Building & Development Fees tab. Please see the application forms on the right side bar.

Complete Building Permit applications can be submitted to the Permit Clerk at the Civic Centre Reception.

You can book a Pre-application consultation by visiting the Pre-Application Consultation Request page and filling out the form.

Key Forms & Documents
pdf Building Permit Application (single family home and larger) (1.05 MB)
pdf Building Permit Application (decks, renovations, smaller applications) (351 KB)
pdf Temporary Structure Permit (176 KB)
pdf Demolition Permit Application (286 KB)

New Construction

The construction of a new house or commercial building is considered new construction.Please note that the requirements are included on the back of the building permit application form.

The provincial New Home Buyer Protection Act came into effect on February 1, 2014. Under this act, a building permit cannot be issued unless new home warranty approval has been obtained from the Province. Visit www.HomeWarranty.alberta.ca for more information.

  • Building Permit requirements for new construction
  • The following is the list of the required supporting documents to be submitted with a building permit application for new construction. Please note that all plans must be to scale and include metric measurements.
    • Proof of authorization to construct on the property. The owner must sign the application form, and submit either a copy of title or purchase agreement.
    • TWO sets of plans and specifications AND an electronic copy in PDF format (including floor area calculation and unit sizes for projects with a residential component). Refer to the 2010 Engineering Design & Construction Guidelines to ensure you have met all Engineering Services requirements. Including floor area calculation and unit sizes for projects with a residential component.
    • THREE Surveyed Plot Plans (at least two of which must be originals), showing the location of the proposed construction.
    • ONE 11"x17" Site Plan/Landscape Plan.
    • ONE Foundation Plan.
    • Manufacturer's shop drawings for engineered floor and roof framing systems OR a letter of engagement from a structural engineer engaged to review the plans and issue a letter of compliance.
    • Letter of engagement from the engineer who will review the soil conditions, make recommendations for the footings, and issue a letter of compliance.
    • Submit a Fire Safety Plan. (Should you have any questions regarding this please contact the Assistant Chief in charge of Prevention and Fire Safety).
    • Third party green building certification acceptable to the Town of Canmore, or undertake the Town of Canmore Green Building Procedure in accordance with Section 7 of the Land Use Bylaw 22-2010. Please contact the Planning and Development Department for a copy of the checklist. Also refer to the public guides for commercial and residential applications.
    • The required fees. Bear bin contribution or offsite levies may be due.
    • Bow Valley Construction Waste Diversion Form must be completed, or confirm that it has been submitted to the Bow Valley Waste Management Commission.
    • Proof of warranty coverage under New Home Buyer Protection Act.
    • Confirm that utility providers such as Fortis and Atco have been notified.


Miscellaneous Construction

Miscellaneous construction is considered anything that is not new construction, such as additions, decks, renovations, sheds over 100 square feet (10 square metres), and garages. Please note that the requirements are included on the back of the building permit application form.

  • Building Permit Requirements for miscellaneous construction
  • The following is a list of the required supporting documents to be submitted with the building permit application.Please note that all plans must be to scale and include metric measurements.
    • Proof of authorization to construct on the property. The owner must sign the application form, and submit either a copy of title or purchase agreement.
    • TWO sets of plans and specifications AND an electronic copy in PDF format (including floor area calculation and unit sizes for projects with a residential component). Refer to the 2010 Engineering Design & Construction Guidelines to ensure you have met all Engineering Services requirements.
    • TWO Surveyed Plot Plans (at least one of which must be an original), showing the location of the proposed construction, OR site information in another form (site plan) that clearly indicates the development is in accordance with the regulations.
    • Manufacturer's shop drawings for engineered floor and roof framing systems OR a letter of engagement from a structural engineer engaged to review the plans and issue a letter of compliance.
    • Letter of engagement from the engineer who will review the soil conditions, make recommendations for the footings, and issue a letter of compliance.
    • Bow Valley Construction Waste Diversion Form must be completed, or confirm that it has been submitted to the Bow Valley Waste Management Commission.
    • Confirm that utility providers such as Fortis and Atco have been notified, if necessary.


Frequently Asked Questions

This guide is intended to help you assemble and submit a building permit application and carry out the work in accordance with your approved building permit.

  • What is a Building Permit and when do I need one?
  • Building Permit means a permit to construct issued by the Town of Canmore pursuant to the Building Permit Bylaw.  Download a  pdf sample building permit here. (129 KB)

    When do I need a Building Permit?

    A Building Permit is needed for the construction of a building or the renovation or addition to a building and for any change in the type of occupancy of the building. All building projects require a building permit unless they are specifically exempted. The following is a list of these exemptions:

    • A Permit is not required for:

      • Painting, decorating, re-roofing or re-siding if;
        • Matters affecting health and safety are not at risk; and
        • There is no structural change to the building; nor
      Some projects that do not require a building permit, none the less require a development permit. All work or development including minor works such as repainting require a development permit unless specifically exempted in Section 1 of the Land Use Bylaw 22-2010. Construction that does not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) in total prevailing market value, if matters of health and safety are not at risk, and is not of a structural nature, in the opinion of the Safety Codes
      Officer; nor
    • Construction of an accessory building or structure less than 10m2 (square metres) in area and located on a temporary foundation, and less than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) in total prevailing market value; nor
    • The replacement or alteration of ducting serving a space heating appliance if;  
      • it is located in a single family residential dwelling, and
      • there is no design change required to the heating and ventilation
        system.

    Unless specifically exempted, permits are required by provincial law prior to starting any work. It is the responsibility of the owner of a building to ensure that construction is carried out in accordance with all Town Bylaws and Provincial Legislation.

    Alberta Municipal Affairs and the Safety Codes Council have put together a convenient pamphlet entitled to help you answer whether or not you need a permit available for pdf download here (915 KB) . Additional informative pamphlets can be found on the Municipal Affairs website.

  • What other permits may I need?
  • If the project you are proposing to undertake involves electrical, gas or plumbing work, you will need to obtain the relevant permits from an accredited agency. Below is a list of agencies that are accredited to issue electrical, gas and plumbing permits and to monitor compliance in Canmore.
    Agency Name Phone Fax
    Davis Inspection Services Ltd. (403) 275-3338 1-800-639-0912 (403) 275-9790
    IJD Inspections Ltd. (403) 346-6533 1-877-617-8776 (403) 347-2533
    Park Enterprises (403) 329-3747 1-800-621-5440 (403) 329-8514 1-866-406-8484
    Superior Safety Codes Inc. 1-888-717-2344 1-888-717-2340
    The Inspections Group (780) 454-5048 1-866-554-5048 (780) 454-5222 1-866-454-5222
    For additional information on electrical, gas and plumbing permits please visit the Alberta Affairs website. Please note, some work also requires a development permit from the Town of Canmore. When a development permit is needed is explained in greater detail in the next section of this tutorial.
  • When do I need a Development Permit?
  • A development permit is needed for any development or building within the Town of Canmore except where explicitly exempted in Section 1 of the Land Use Bylaw 22-2010. Some examples of applications that would require a development permit include:
    • work that would require a variance to the Land Use Bylaw
    • changes of the use of a space from a permitted or discretionary use to a discretionary use
    • exterior renovations on commercial or multi-family buildings. Included in the review of every building permit application is a review to determine if a development permit is needed. When a development permit is required, a building permit cannot be granted until such time as the development permit is issued. Please note that development permits for small scale projects require a minimum of 3 weeks due to the statutorily required appeal period and advertising. In some land use districts development permit applications are presented to the Canmore Planning Commission (CPC) for a decision. In these cases additional time is required to schedule a meeting of the CPC and for the commission to render a decision.
    • Most development permit decisions may be appealed within 14 days of the advertising of the notice of decision to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.
  • Building Application Timeline
  • The building permit application process takes time and should be factored into your planned schedule for construction. In general, minor building permit applications take between 15 and 20 working days to process. Larger or more complex permit applications are dealt with on a case by case basis. It is very important to note that the above schedules apply only to complete permit applications where no development permit is required.
    • If a permit application is incomplete, the applicant will be contacted by the Town and informed of the deficiencies. The application cannot be processed until all required information is submitted. It is better to wait until you have assembled all of the required information prior to submitting your application to the Town.
    • If a permit application is not consistent with the regulations of the Land Use Bylaw, the applicant will be contacted by the Town and informed that either a development permit is required or that no building permit may be granted. It is important to note that there is no guarantee that a development permit will be granted for a proposal that varies from the Land Use Bylaw. For more information on development permits please contact Planning and Development at (403)678-1543.
    Upon the applicant satisfying the Town that all engineering and other requirements specified under the Land Use Bylaw have been complied with, the Town will release the permit to the applicant. Permits that are not claimed within 30 days of the approval date will be cancelled. Plans will be returned by mail and 25% of the fee will be retained.
  • Responsibilities of the Permit Holder
  • Once the review of an application is approved the following responsibilities apply. These are excepted from the Town of Canmore's Building Permit Bylaw.

    SECTION 11 RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PERMIT HOLDER
    On the issuance of a Permit, the permit holder must:
    (a) comply with the terms and conditions of the Permit; and
    (b) undertake the construction, process or activity in accordance with the Act and
    applicable codes and standards; and (c) notify the Town:
    (i) if the permit holder does not intend to complete the undertaking, or
    (ii) if there is a change in ownership from the owner as stated on the Permit
    application, (d) ensure that all plans and specifications required to apply for the Permit are available at the construction site at all reasonable times for inspection by a Safety Codes Officer, and
    (e) ensure that the Permit is posted, or otherwise identified, at the construction site.

    SECTION 12 TERM OF A PERMIT
    In the absence of a different term set under Section 10, a permit expires if the undertaking to which it applies
    (a) is not commenced within 90 days from the date of issue of the permit, or
    (b) is suspended or abandoned for a period of 120 days, or
    (c) is in respect of a seasonal use residence and the undertaking is suspended or abandoned for a period of 240 days after the undertaking is started. Despite subsection (1), when the term of a Permit has not expired, the Town may, in writing, and on the request of the Permit holder, extend the permit for an additional fixed period of time that the Town considers appropriate.

    SECTION 14. DEVIATION FROM PERMIT CONDITIONS
    No person shall deviate or authorize a deviation from a Permit or terms or conditions of a Permit without first obtaining the written permission of the Town. SECTION 15 PERMIT TRANSFER, TERMINATION

    If a holder of a Permit relinquishes the holder’s interest or participation in the undertaking governed by the Permit before the undertaking is completed, the Permit or any label or identification number issued as part of a Permit:
    (a) is terminated, and
    (b) applies only to the part of the undertaking completed before the termination unless the Town authorizes the Permit or label or identification number to be transferred. A Permit is not transferable to any other person unless the transfer is authorized in writing by the Town.
  • I have my permit... now what?
  • Now that you have your Building Permit, all you need to do before starting construction is:
    • Post the blue building permit card conspicuously on the site.
    • The signed and stamped drawings that were returned to you with the building permit card are the drawings that should be used for construction.
    • Only the work identified on those drawings is covered under the building permit.
    • Keep track of the inspections required as part of your building permit and to abide by the conditions of your permit.
    • Please ensure that you and your contractors maintain a safe and tidy construction site. Sample Building Permit
    Moving Forward
    • If you do require access to a portion of the road right of way you must first obtain a road right of way usage permit from the Town of Canmore.
    • If you require access over a park or municipal reserve parcel as part of construction you must first obtain permission to cross a public reserve.
    • If you need to work on a Sunday or a statutory holiday, you must first obtain permission to work from the Town of Canmore.
    • If you wish to make an amendment to your building permit, please submit the proposed revisions and supporting information to Planning and Development at the Civic Centre. Please note that additional fees are due if the amendment is submitted after the building permit has been granted. Until such time as the amendment is approved, no work other than that detailed in your existing permit and drawings is permitted.
  • Inspections
  • Safety Codes Inspections

    At stages during construction, the Town of Canmore's Safety Codes Officer (Building Inspector) will need to carry out inspections of the work. Depending on the scope of work the number of inspections may vary. For example, the construction of a new home requires a minimum of 4 inspections at the following stages:

    Foundation Inspection - Occurs before the foundation is back filled Framing Inspection - Occurs after electrical and mechanical is installed but before insulation is installed

    Vapour Barrier & Insulation Inspection - Occurs after the insulation and vapour barrier is installed but before drywall is installed.

    Final Inspection - Occurs prior to occupying the building.

    Inspections Other projects, such as the construction of a deck may require fewer inspections. In the case of a deck renovation it is likely that only a final inspection would be carried out.

    To book an inspection please call the Town of Canmore's Permit Clerk at (403) 678-1543. Please note that inspections require a minimum of 48 hours advanced booking and are scheduled according to availability of the Safety Codes Officer.

    Municipal Services Inspections

    When the scope of a building permit includes tying in to municipal services (sewer and water), an inspection of these tie ins is required. This inspection must take place before the services are buried. For projects of 3 dwelling units or less, the Town of Canmore conducts these inspections. For commercial projects or those including more than 3 dwelling units, a consulting engineer must be engaged to carry out the inspections and issue a certificate of compliance.

    To book an inspection for projects of less than 3 dwelling units, please contact the Engineering Technician at (403) 678-1528. Engineering inspections must be booked a minimum of 24 hours in advance.

    Consulting Engineer and Consultant Inspections

    Where a building permit application contains letter(s) of engagement from consulting engineer(s) or a consultant, the consulting engineer(s) or consultant must carry out their inspections and copies of the reports must be submitted to the Town of Canmore. Please ensure that you book your inspections in a timely manner as in many cases work cannot proceed until after the inspection is carried out. Please contact your consulting engineer(s) and consultant(s) to determine when their inspections should take place.

    Some examples of inspections that are comonly carried out by consulting engineers as part of issuing a report include structural roof inspections and retaining wall/slope stability inspections.

    An example of an inspection commonly carried out by a consultant would be a blower door test as part of the federal EnerGuide Program.

    It is important to note that the Town of Canmore will not close the Building Permit or issue occupancy until all of the consultant reports have been submitted.

  • Occupancy
  • Once a building or unit has passed the final inspection by the Safety Codes Officer the occupancy procedure can be initiated. The Town of Canmore occupancy procedure is a 4 stage process that generally occurs within one business day of passing the final inspection.

    • Safety Codes Officer provides a final inspection report indicating that construction meets the Alberta Building Code.
    • Planning and Development Services inspects the property to ensure all outstanding conditions of the building permit are complete.
    • Engineering Services ensures that the construction completion certificates for the site infrastructure and drainage are in place where applicable.
    • The Town will issue an occupancy certificate and contact EPCOR to have the water turned on and meter installed, should all of these requirements be complete.
      pdf Sample Occupancy Certificate (48 KB)

    It is very important to note that passing the final inspection does not mean that it is okay to occupy a building. Occupying a building without a valid occupancy permit or removing a water spacer is unlawful and subject to fines.

    Under some circumstances the Town may grant conditional occupancy for a building or unit. In these cases, the occupancy permit will be granted with conditions attached with dates by which the conditions must be addressed. Please read your occupancy certificate and ensure that any conditions that are listed on it are met by the prescribed date. Should the conditions of occupancy not be met by the outlined dates, the occupancy for the building may be revoked and the water turned off. A building permit is still open until all conditions of occupancy are completed. If no conditions are listed on your occupancy certificate then the building permit will be closed.

  • Closing a Building Permit
  • Once the final inspection has been passed and unconditional occupancy granted, the building permit file will be closed by the Town. As part of closing the file, a Permit Services Report (PSR) will be issued to the building permit holder.

      pdf Sample Permit Services Report (12 KB)

    PSRs are issued for all files that are closed. Please note that in some cases a PSR will be issued where conditions of a building permit are not complete or the work does not comply. This is done when a building permit expires and there has been no renewal applied for by the applicant.

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